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tv   Charlie Rose  PBS  May 17, 2017 4:00pm-5:01pm PDT

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>> rose: welcome to the program. we begin tonight with politics and our continuing conversation about the trump administration. tonight, katy tur of ncb news. >> you hear mitch mcconnell say, yeah, i wish there were a lot less drama, but, at the same time, they're not making real steps to disassociate or distance themselves from this president, by and large. you've got to point to what a number of republicans said on the campaign trail, charlie, and i hate to always look back, but past is our best guide, but republicans, including paul ryan -- and this is part of the reason donald trump won as well -- kept saying over and over again that hillary clinton was careless with classified information. they took that from james comey. >> rose: we conclude with jann wenner, co-founder of the
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rolling stone magazine and his son gus, the 50th anniversary this year. >> rolling stone has been a mission to me and started with the mission of promoting music and what it was about, what it stood for and has evolved over that period of time with a growing professionalism and with the music itself to rolling stone having a full-time voice in national conversation. >> rose: katy tur, jann wenner and gus wenner when we continue.
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>> rose: we begin this evening with politics. the "new york times" reports this evening that president trump asked former f.b.i. coordinator james comey in yesterday to terminate investigation of michael flynn. white house denied wrongdoing. monday it was revealed president trump revealed highly classified intelligence to russians reportedly sharing information given by israel. the president defended his decision as his absolute right in a series of tweets wednesday morning. the news has criticism about the trump administration's alleged ties to russia which date back to his 2016 presidential campaign. katy tur covered donald trump since the beginning, anchors the
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2:00 p.m. show at msnbc. welcome. >> thank you. >> rose: i don't know where to start. >> it's been really quiet. >> rose: yeah. david brooks had a column today said the world led by child. comey memo says trump asked him to end flynn investigation. of course the trump people and press officials denied that. >> yeah. >> rose: you've got the classified information released, that's a controversy. where is it all going? how do you comprehend this? >> it's hard to say where it is all going, but just take this -- we were calling it seven days in may. i think now we've got to update it to say eight days in may. >> rose: which is a famous novel about an attempt to take over the government. >> exactly. one week ago yesterday sally yates was testifying in front of
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congress. on tuesday donald trump fires f.b.i. director comey, and we're told he did so at the request, the recommendation of the deputy ag and ag. wednesday, he meets with russian officials in the oval office. >> rose: photographers come in and -- >> just the russian media was allowed in. there was reporting later that said they were duped by the russians that the russians were not telling them this was a media outlet. thursday, ncb news has our exclusive interview with donald trump where he tells lester holt that, no, i was always going to fire comey and thinking about russia when i was considering doing it. >> rose: i want to ask you this and you will probably know because i think jonathan karl brought this up, i think. when he said that, yes, i was thinking about russia, did he mean that i knew by doing this it would create a whole flurry of criticism of me about russia? >> you know, i don't know what
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he thought he was doing at that time. i think it is -- it's hard to buy that he knew it would create a flurry of criticism and that is why he did it. i'm not so sure if that is -- that's a generous reading of it. >> rose: what if he meant to say i knew what i was doing and i was doing it because to have the russian investigation. >> potentially. what i have been able to see from donald trump and infer from him and the conversations i've had with people close to him, who have known him for years, my dealings with him, everything that i've seen, he is somebody who wants to appear as if he is in control at all times, that he is the one making the decisions, and he also has a tendency, and you can see it in interviews, to go ono tangents and be a bit free-wheeling, and say whatever comes to his mind first. that is the sort of thing that gets him into hot water over and over again, but it's also the
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saying that enables him to rise politically. it's why his supporters liked him so much. he wasn't practiced. he said things that were inappropriate at times. he said things that were controversial. he didn't back down. >> rose: and be willing to take on any power including china. >> exactly. it worked for him during the election, obviously, he won, and it worked for him so far because what if the real consequences been to the various controversies that have happened, in terms of republicans saying we're not going to stand by this. >> rose: some republicans in congress are now saying why do we have all these distractions like mitch mcconnell saying i wish there was less drama out there because maybe we could get on the process with slating. >> the republicans want to get their agenda done. when i talk to staffers and other republicans on capitol hill, they say they're happy they have a republican president in power because it will enable them to get the things they want to do done. also, they point to judge neil
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gorsuch as a victory and the several judges they will end up appointing and the reason they're sticking behind the president. it is becoming pore difficult to do so given the political pressure and the drama the white house creates. you hear mitch mcconnell saying i wish there was less drama, but, at the same time they're not making real steps to disassociate or distance themselves from this president, by and large. and you've got to point to what a number of republicans said on the campaign trail, and i hate to always look back, but that is, you know, past is our best guide. but republicans including paul ryan, and this is part of the reason that donald trump won as well, kept saying over and over again that hillary clinton was careless with classified information, they took that from james comey, and said, because of that, she should not be allowed to have access to classified information. it's one of the reasons they thought she wasn't fit for office. they are on the record saying this, tweeting this.
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twitter's an amazing thing because you can go back and find everybody's tweet and say what about this time you said this? and now, given the circumstances, given that donald trump has now done the same thing and you could argue he admitted to doing it on twitter this morning, that is an argument that can be made, and what do the republicans do going forward? do they stand by their previous statements or prove that it really is just partisan politics? it's also interesting it's one more time in which his staff and donald trump are looking at the same event and coming up with different interpretations of it. >> yeah. >> rose: the staff says, well -- in fact, people we admire and generally have an add mirs from the community that they work in, h.r. mcmaster, said there is no disclosure of source or methods. then donald trump comes along and says, well, you know, it's my job to share things with the russians because i'm trying to enlist them in the fight against terrorism and especially
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i.s.i.s. >> yes, so it was something of a red herring yesterday when h.r. mcmaster was talking about sources and methods because that's not what "the washington post" article initially laid out. donald trump, in subsequent tweets this morning, was saying, listen, this is something the president is allowed the to do, it's not illegal. he can deem what is classified or he can unclassify things at any moment if he feels like it's in the national interest. and he said this on the campaign, he wants a better relationship with russia, he wants them to work with us to eradicate i.s.i.s. so whether -- you know, this question was asked during the briefings of h.r. mcmaster and of sean spicer off camera briefings later on today, was this something that donald trump was prepared to say? did they go through the appropriate intelligence channels to alert them to this? or was this something he just decided spur of the moment to share with the russians? and the white house, including h.r. mcmaster, dodged that we.
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>> rose: because michael morell on cbs this morning, this morning, said, i asked him what should his staff have done in terms of something like this? and he said it's the job of the national security advisor to make sure the president knows, you know, what is the protocol and what they can say and cannot say. that's what you expect from a national security advisor, to fully inform the president that something is very sensitive and you simply cannot refer to it. >> but what we keep hearing is that donald trump is -- listen, he's not -- he's not a normal president. he's not going to do things the normal way. there is reporting out there that suggests, instead of, you know, full briefings, multi-paged briefings before these meetings, he just wants one page with bullet points in. conversations i've had with those that know him very well, they've said the same thing. listen, he's not somebody who pays attention to the details of things, to the minutia of
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things. he's a headline reader, a top line reader. he's not something that will get into the weeds on something. so policy has never been a strong suit for him. we saw that certainly with the healthcare debate. he said he understood healthcare within a matter of days so quickly, but in interviews, it seemed to -- that didn't seem to be true. he seemed to not understand the nitty gritty of what was out there. >> rose: which came out in the john dickerson interview. >> exactly, and same thing goes for what we're seeing in intelligence. >> rose: how big is this story? comey memos, this is tomorrow morning's papers will say this, comey memo says trump asked him to end flynn investigation? >> i think it's a big deal. i want to say ncb news has been able to verify the existence of that letter and one line in particular which is "i hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting flynn go," this is what donald trump asked f.b.i. director comey. listen, he's got a long history
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of creating these paper trails. there is now reporting, according to this article, that there are more paper trails that are classified having to do with conversations he had with the president. the thing about it is -- >> rose: he had a conversation with the president and then write a memo? >> he would leave the meeting, and he would go to his office, presumably, i'm not sure where, and he would write down exactly what happened in those meetings. the article said he did that because it was worried that certain conversations could come up later, and he wanted to have a definitive log for what happened. he was meticulous about note taking during his time at the f.b.i., and there's got to be some of these memos that potentially the public can see if they're not classified. the issue that is happening now, there are so many anonymous sources. richard burr of the senate intelligence committee, the chair, came out today and said, listen, i think this is all
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concerning, but i do want to see someone go on the record. these things have got to be attached to a name. >> rose: so is james comey going to come testify on the record? om the reporting that we have, it does seem, yes, he's going to want to get his story out. it's unclear in what venue or at what time. i know he was asked to come to congress. >> rose: whether an open hearing. >> yeah, whether it will be an open hearing or a classified or closed-door hearing. i think the public is itching for someone to come out and say, listen, i'm going to go on the record with this. i'm going to go within the record with what happened. until that happens, the republicans have that in their fire power and, frankly, so does donald trump and the administration to say these are all anonymous sources who are out to get me. >> rose: do the democrats have any real leverage when they insist they will not vote for an f.b.i. director until they see some action? >> in terms of numbers, no, they don't, because they don't have
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the majority control of the senate now. the republicans do and they can vote on a party line for an f.b.i. director. the question is are they going to have an appetite to make it partisan or do they want to make sure that the f.b.i. director is something that both the democrats and the republicans agree on to make sure that the american public knows that they are above politics, that they are fair and impartiality and -- impartial and add hearing to the -- and ad ad hearing to the law, not any republican party. it remains to be seen who donald trump nominates and how that process plays out. >> rose: foreign policy. first, north korea. >> yeah. >> rose: the principal challenge to this presidency right now. north korea just had another missile that they -- a large one they put on a rocket, and it sort of had the same kind of
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parabola that an icbm would have, suggesting this was a successful firing of a medium-range missile. >> yeah. >> rose: the president says he has a very good relationship with the chinese, the chinese are doing more, and that he's promised he will do less in terms of demand about trade if they will help him on north korea. are they doing it? is he being successful at that? >> that's a good question. north korea certainly feels emboldened at the moment from their behavior. you can tell by the number of tests they have been doing. north korea, according to intelligence officials, was going to be, and this is what president obama told trump as well, that north korea was going to be his biggest problem and that they needed to watch out for it.
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is donald trump being successful? >> rose: but he is doing what everybody said you have to do which is go through the chinese go. >> through the chinese. >> rose: you've got to engage the chinese. >> and he's not labeling them a currency manipulator. >> rose: and they are doing some things, we think. >> yeah, there have been some op-eds in their newspapers, essentially state-run newspapers, that have called on the north koreans to calm down or call on deescalation of tensions. the south koreans want to try out diplomacy, want to try something akin to the sunshine policy with their new president. but as far as trump being successful with foreign policy in north korea, that's hard to determine for anybody at the moment. >> rose: it shows he's a little indifferent in that he says, i probably should sit down with this guy. what did he say? seems like he's a smart boy? >> a smart cookie. yeah. >> rose: that's not the kind
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of remarks we normally hear. >> no, we don't normally hear any praise or friendly, complimentary words towards a dictator. but the north koreans have said that kim jong un is open to sitting down with donald trump. of course, the administration said there were conditions for that. >> rose: as every administration does. >> as every administration does. >> rose: he's now off to saudi arabia, his first stop, where there are going to be a lot of other heads of muslim countries there. >> yep. >> rose: and there will be, perhaps, some big stories coming out of that. it is said that the saudis believe that they have the makings of a very good relationship with donald trump, and what might come out of this? >> well, you know, donald trump has a relationship previous with saudi arabia in property deals, so he is a known quantity to them in some respects. listen, this is supposed to be accordin,according to the admin,
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a tour that is going to foster -- or try to foster a better relationship between the world's three top religions -- christianity, islam and judaism. from saudi arabia, he's going to israel, and that's potentially problematic now because there are reports and nbc news confirmed that israel -- >> rose: what's the source of the information. >> -- was the source of the intel he shared with the russians. so there are going to be tensions no doubt from that. >> rose: have the israelis acknowledged it came from them and have they said anything as far as we know, so far, other than sources have been quoted, we have not heard from the netanyahu government, have we? >> we have not heard directly from the netanyahu government. the israeli ambassador said that the relationship between the united states and israel is going to continue on as successfully as it had, that's paraphrasing it. but the no question that that is going to add to some
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tension between the white house and the israelis, especially considering there were january reports there was concern among israeli officials about sharing information with president trump. this was supposed to be a reset of some sort to make donald trump look more presidential, to make him appear larger on an international stage. >> rose: and by meeting with muslim countries whom he had try to deny people from these countries to come to the united states. >> his own headlines. >> rose: what's the most interesting assessment of him that you have said or read that you think captures the man? >> oh, that's a really hard question. i think that he's somebody who -- it's harder to deny or easier to argue now that he's somebody who believes in his own uniqueness, his own ability to get things done.
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>> rose: triumphs experience and -- >> exactly, that he doesn't need to do the things that everybody else needs to do, prepare, have advisors that hoe listens -- that he listens to, follow the rules. he campaigned again on hillary clinton not following the rules, but it seems now that he doesn't believe he needs to follow the rules, from all of this reporting that comes in day in and day out, and to some extent he hasn't had to follow the rules. >> rose: the last time we talked, you were heading at some point before the presidential campaign started for london, as i remember. >> yeah. no, i lived in london. >> rose: you lived in london. yeah. >> rose: and all of a sudden, ncb news comes to you and says, well, we want you to come over here? >> sort of. i was back in town saying hi to folks and standing in the news room and donald trump was getting dropped by macy's and a couple of other large corporations for his comments when he announced that mexicans
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were rapists and coming and dealing drugs, and i was literally standing in the news room, and they said, katy, do you mind filing the story for us, second day, third day. then katy, do you mind being on the trump campaign beat? it shouldn't last very long. it was not a desirable beat for a political reporter. >> rose: and especially in terms of you in terms of what happened to you in terms of personal attacks. >> i would say that it was a great experience in some ways because it was fascinating to be on the front lines of political history. it's a cliche, but i think it's important to report on political candidates, and i think it was beneficial to have somebody like me do it, an outsider, because i could equally understand why he was resonating and not have all the normal washington constraints on why he would not succeed. >> rose: so now 2:00 p.m.
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every day you're on msnbc with your own show. >> i am. >> rose: how's that going? it's nice to be on the other side of the table asking the questions, getting the answers, yet still doing my own reporting. i'm enjoying it a lot. in theory, i should be getting more sleep. i'm not. >> rose: welcome. thank you, charlie. >> rose: to that. there is also you're writing a book called "unbelievable" a title coming from every day of that campaign, i assume. >> pretty much. it's detailing what it was like to be on the campaign trail and how wild and at times unbelievable it was. a lot of the stories that we were not able to tell, a lot of the stories that didn't seem relevant at the time now have a lot of relevance. what was the campaign like behind the scenes, what was donald trump like behind the scenes, what was the media like behind the scenes, what were those rallies really like? >> rose: if you are in the media today, you can go anywhere and where no visibility where
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someone will come up to you and ask about president trump and what's going to happen. >> that's the only conversation i have been having for two years. >> rose: thank you for coming. always good to see you. >> thank you, charlie. >> rose: katy tur, ncb news. back in a moment. stay with us. >> rose: in 1967, a 21-year-old music fan snaimed jann wenner launched a rock and roll news with $705,000 he scraped together from a few friends. he called it rolling stone. rolling stone magazine would become as iconic as the stars it covered. the magazine became a destination for leading talent of the day, attracting the likes of andy leibowitz, richard wolf. thompson who contributed 30 years said i was given the room and range to kick as and very few places will give you that. joining me is jann wenner.
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in addition to being co-founder, editor and publisher, also head of wenner media, the parent group. and gus wenner, head of digital operations at wenner media. i am pleased to have them at this table to mark this occasion, 50 years of rolling stone. what an amazing, amazing book and amazing journey it has been through american culture and politics and personalities. but way back then, what were you thinking? >> well, i was just a rock and roll fan, a rock and roll crazy kid and wanted to have something to do with the music. i saw how much i enjoyed and life it was giving me and how much joy and pleasure, i quickly found out i wasn't going to be in a band. so what i kind of knew how to do was journalism. i worked on a college newspaper and high school newspaper, so it seemeda way in. there wasn't a good magazine or kind of outlet at the time about rock and roll and what it had
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become under the beatles and stones and dylan. it was something about high-quality music and not just for teenage girls. we took the music on its own terms. we were like evangelists and thought we should carry what the musicians wanted to say and communicate to their audience and to each other. so it became a real share -- >> rose: it became a bible. yeah, and a destination. they respected us from the beginning and gave us amazing interviews starting right away. >> rose: went from a newspaper to a magazine. >> along the way -- started as a newspaper because that's all we could afford to print. along the way, as we became more successful, bringing down the size, change the paper quality, and 15, 20 years, added staples. that's when it became a magazine. >> rose: your then wife was working with you at that time.
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>> yeah, she was in the founding of it? how many people? four, five, the ten? >> maybe five or six or seven people. all volunteers. nobody got paid. we didn't hire a full-time person till about a year later. he said, i have to be paid. i have a part-time job at the zoo feeding animals and i can't do both. so we made a deal. he got $25 a week and started there. now the 700 employees, you know, competitive salaries and, you know -- >> rose: take a look at this. this is a clip, richard abbott on this show talking about the family album series of portraits he did for rolling stone. you will like this march through history. during the 1976 election, the series won a national magazine award and marked the start of abbott's relationship with rolling stone, just one more great artist who somehow found a connection with rolling stone. this was done for rolling stone magazine in 1976.
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these were a whole series of photographs. tell me what this portraiture is about. this is george push, i guess director of the c.i.a. >> director of the c.i.a. >> rose: what's this about? well, the first thing, when i do a portrait, i have many choices to be completely subjective, balance subjective with objective or completely objective. this is an election year, so it meant, and the son was to do the power, elite of the country. so bankers, harry kissingers, union heads, from cesar chavez to amine. i have no deep feelings about these people or politicians. >> rose: so what are you trying to reveal? >> in this case, i pulled back and let whatever they wanted to
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show, show. >> rose: the late richard -- there is a selection of pictures in the book, but i find it interesting, in 1976, really, when we were less than ten years old or around there, that we would have the audacity to decide we would define the american establishment, we would appoint ourselves to be the arbiter of it. that's ballsy. >> rose: yeah. pictures of george bush and a whole other range of people. gus, we'll get to you in a moment. are you born -- are you bored yet? >> no, fascinating. >> rose: the writing, did it have a style to it from the beginning or come with tom wolf and people like that? >> we let people who could right well have their head and define their own style. we never tried to force a style on them, but when i say -- we insisted on good reporting,
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accurate reporting, good writing, and that the articles be about something and you learn something from them. and then you could operate within that range. that suited us very well. we had great styles from hunter and tom today to a number of wonderful writers. >> rose: you said you learned what writing and reporting could be and it began to shape my vision for the magazine from what tom wolf was doing. >> yeah. >> rose: roll tape. this is tom wolf talking about new journalism. >> new journalism, not really very complicated, in my view. it's technical. you use the devices of fiction, four in number, which is a scene-by-scene construction, so moving from one scene to another, to another scene. extensive use of dialogue. dialogue is the most readable thing in prose. another is the notation of status details -- that is, what
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people wear, what their furniture is like, how they treat superiors, inferiors, everything that shows how they might stand in life, which i think we're all conscious of. >> rose: so you have a keen and observant eye for that? >> i think so. it's so important. the other thing, this is the most controversial thing in the so-called new journalism is the use of what henry james called point of view, and that is to be inside of someone's head, not your own as a writer, in someone's head in that scene that you're presenting, if you could possibly do it. now, in order to do that, you've got to be -- you have to have interviewed your subject extensively, and you have to believe that that subject is telling you the truth when the subject says what he was thinki. >> rose: all of this became incorporated into the sort of mind set of the magazine.
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>> yes, tom and i shared this mutual fall fascination with the american culture and things going on. tom, my view, is the greatest magazine writer of his times, one of the great reporters and writers of his time, and the work he did is just brilliant. it tells the story of the society we lived in and how it's evolved. i was delighted to work with him. >> rose: and then hunter thompson came along. >> hunter was just an amazing personality and fun to be with. but, again, a great reporter, a stylist, a writer, a man on a mission to tell the truth, to get to the bottom, and a great writer about himself. he was always his best main character. so what we love and remember about hunter is all the crazy stuff he did, so brilliantly provocative and describe it. you go to meet muskie, screw
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muskie, you met hunter. hunter and rolling stone are -- >> rose: and what about you? all of a sudden, you became part of the scene in terms of the culture of rock and roll. >> well, you know, you have to sort of be on the scene to do the job that i do and, you know, be aware of everything that's going on, end up knowing lots of people and going lots of places, and it's fun. i mean, i have amazing access to all kinds of people and events and situations in concerts throughout these years ago. lucky beyond believe. >> rose: i'll show you covers. first cover in rolling stone november 9, 1967. there it is. >> that you be john lennon and the richard lester movie called how i won the war. that's him in that movie. just an accent but an incredibly for to youtive historical accent that john lennon would be the first cover. nothing could be more perfect.
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>> rose: next, john lennon's original office was 746 brennan street in san francisco. >> that's my first office. that table. >> rose: yes, indeed. that take has a relationship to this table, in fact, that -- i've told this story and you have, too -- i went to a party and there was this table because john had been moved to new york and i liked the table, not knowing what its meaning was to him. i said, can i buy your table? and you said, well, i'll get back to uh you. you said back the next day and said, no, you can't, but i know where you can get one and that's where i found this one. the next thing, this is with you and mick jagger in london in 1969. >> we were announcing the partnership, we went to accomplish rolling stone in england. it's an ambitious and naive and wonderful thing to do. >> rose: gus, you were born when?
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>> 1990. >> rose: how long have you wanted to work for rolling stone? >> probably as long as i have been working for rolling stone. i had other plans. >> rose: so what happened? well, i -- after i graduated school, i had some time, and i wanted to work there to learn something, with no intentions of it turning into anything more. and i think we discussed that and you echoed the same sentiment. and it was an incredible nine months and i was planning to stop working, and my dad took me out to lunch and asked me if i would run the web site. i was honored and -- >> rose: what was this, about 19 -- >> that was about 2013. >> rose: that's four years ago. >> yeah. >> rose: and what's your role now? >> my role is i run the digital
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operations of the business. i run the digital editorial of the business and oversee ad sales and marketing across the company. >> rose: where are you in terms of where the magazine had its 50th anniversary. >> me perchlly? >> rose: yes. two or three things. i'm totally enjoying continuing with the magazine and being a part of that and the articles and the excitement and the times we live in now. secondly, i'm looking with gus for new things for us to do. using our brain and what we do and skill at telling stories to look at the other mediums that are available for us, and very excited about that. and thirdly, i'm kind of helping gus -- he's helping me learn the ropes. and i'm sort of watching gus probably take over. >> rose: he's teaching him and
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you're -- you're teaching him and he's teaching you. >> yes. >> rose: when will he take over. >> we're working on the transition. we haven't decided the nature and time of it. >> rose: in the near future. yes, as opposed to the distant or mid future. >> rose: that's exciting. i think it would be wonderful to have a son who you thought imminently qualified to come early and to learn and to feel some sense of being able, look, this is what your mother and i started with, and we are handing it over to you, you know. you better take good care of it because it's our legacy. >> i always thought gus was capable of going it but i never thought he would have enough time to learn it, given what he got in school and stuff. lo and behold, he surprised the hell out of me and everybody at the office. he was a natural. gained everybody's respect. his judgment. i don't want to sit here and talk about how wonderful he is,
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but for me, working with my son on a day-to-day basis, what a reward. >> rose: absolutely. what a reward. >> rose: what is the heart and soul of rolling stone today? >> well, i think it's not so different from what the heart and soul of rolling stone was founded was. i think it's about embracing a world view that was told through rock and roll music and all the things that come along with it. >> rose: is the world view the view -- is it a view that's a companion to rock and roll? or is it a view that comes from rock and roll? >> no, i think it's a view -- both, really. i think rock and roll promoted the view. i think it's about freedom and independence and stepping to the establishment and, obviously, a lot's changed in the last 50 years and we've changed quite a bit in the last 50 years, but i think that, at our core, is the music and what it means and
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troapts young people -- and what it represents to young people. >> rose: how have you changed in the time of this magazine? >> well, i've gotten older and wrinklier and wiser. but my fundamental with the music remains the same. rolling stone has been a mission to me. it started with the mission of promoting music, what it was about and today for and how it's evolved over that period of time with a growing professionalism and with the music itself to rolling stone finding itself having a full-time voice in national conversation. talking to presidents, issues. >> rose: you did an interview with barack obama. >> clinton and others and candidates. >> rose: are you qualified to do that? >> aim good interviewer, charlie, and that's why i recognize the good interviewer in you. ( laughter )
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i think rolling stone's got a place in the national conversation. that's very meaningful to me. >> rose: so -- but that's in terms of its national politics. >> yes, but also the culture. >> rose: are the cultures changes? >> culture should always change. culture is designed to change, designed to evolve and be contemporary, particularly popular culture. so we're always on the edge of that and the leading edge of what's going on. through the culture of -- cover of culture, i think you learn what society is about. >> rose: culture is part of the continuity of a society. >> and you read what that society is thinking and what people are doing. >> rose: the legacy of one time for another time. culture. >> and who defines that culture? great artists. >> rose: exactly right. there's the formula. >> rose: do you have any musical talent? >> minor. i can sing along with records really well, in concerts, and i used to play the guitar with
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gus, but he outpaced me at that, too. >> rose: gus plays the guitar? very well. >> rose: really? at one time did you think you would be a musician? >> i realized i was better at business and singing than playing guitar. >> i didn't want to take gus off the path he was on to be a rock and roller. that's such a fun thing. but then he was so good at this other thing, had a real natural skill and talent for managing people and running things and being a leader. i said, you can do that, but do you really want to live the lifestyle of a musician, travel in a band all the time. >> rose: a musician would say i'm tired to have the road and coming back to do studio stuff. when you knew he might be interested, you wanted to make damn sure, to load it up as much as you could? >> i wanted to make sure he wanted to do it, was comfortable
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for it, and he demonstrated those things. i didn't push him or made him do something or asked him to cosomething he didn't feel like. it has to come naturally. >> rose: does james have a role? >> not anymore. a lot of advice. >> rose: and ownership. yeah. >> rose: where will it go? does it continue to do what does or do you believe that now, because we live in a different world, which he's in charge of, it presents new opportunities, new challenges? >> it absolutely presents new opportunities. the brand now exists as a magazine but it also has a readership of close to 30 million online and more than 20 million in cross social media and we have more platforms than we could imagine to tell stories on. so that's a very exciting prospect. our future is very much in figuring out how we tell the same quality of stories.
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but in new mediums and on different platforms. >> rose: does rock and roll have the same impact today? >> well, i mean, yes and no. >> rose: hip-hop and rap? well, i include hip-hop and rap in rock and roll. i define it very broadly. i would say yes to young people, certain situations, it can be just as impactful as it ever was. for my generation, we saw a kind of perfect storm of having the beatles and dylan and the stones and others working together at the same time, bouncing off each other, each one trying to top the other. like a period in paris where you had them all working together. >> rose: oh, yeah. the period leading up to world war ii. >> yeah. and these were fertile, you know, creative area. the same with all these musicians. i think it's just evolved just fine. i think you've got powerful
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music going on today. you've got the older people still performing at their peak, on the road, another generation after that in bruce springsteen and bono. extraordinary performers. folks connected with their time. >> rose: i was just in oh in oma last weekend, and we were at a big convention center, and they were looking at what was coming up. there it was, paul mccartney coming up in omaha for a concert. it's still going. >> doing great shows all the way around the world now. his audiences are not just people our age but young people. >> and there are fantastic music scenes happening now. if you look at what's going on in nashville. >> rose: it really is. it's amazing. >> rose: country never resonated as much as today. >> we started a division called rolling stone country and have offices in nashville.
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it's amazing. hip h hop in atlanta. so the thing is that, although the record business itself is not doing well because it's moved on to other platforms -- >> rose: they make their money in tours. >> they make their money in tours, and music is more widespread, more available than ever and of interest to more people around the world. the audiences are as large as they've ever been. it crosses generations, it crosses generations of musicians and it has more impact than ever. so worldwide body of young people. >> rose: it really crosses borders. it's transnational. i want to show a couple of slides. the image of springsteen. can we see that? long branch, new jersey, august 1973. look at this. cover of rolling stone. there he is, the boss, in new jersey. in long branch, new jersey. the next one is interesting. >> shout out to bruce.
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one of the most compelling, interesting guys, one of the greatest performers in the world with a social conscience and to see his show is to watch, like, a rock and roll, evangelical, bible gospel. >> rose: i have never known a performer who gives more than bruce springsteen and for a longer time on stage. >> yeah. >> rose: he's exhausted, you're exhausted, and you walk away saying -- >> i've had the greatest time of my life. no matter what you do, he's inspiring. he's one of the people i like the best in my musical life. >> rose: he wrote a really interesting book. >> yeah. >> rose: take a look at this. this is image seven. september 27, 1977, cover of rolling stone, a tribute to elvis. here it is. >> yeah. >> rose: i'm not sure why you chose that photograph. >> it was a photograph i had
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never seen before. it's him in his golden peak, that image. we in new york, within five days after he got here, moved to new offices, had a whole new issue planned. he died. scramble the jet, get this issue out on the deadline. >> rose: you're of my generation, or i'm of your generation, and i think elvis presley when he was young was the handsomest man who ever lived. there was this great sense of white man who adapted to black music. >> and the voice. the voice is just one of the best ever. >> rose: there is one other slide i want to show you. this is of bono. >> my man. >> rose: getting ready to start another tour? >> they're starting a tour now playing in joshua tree. the rolling stone review, it's
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fantastic. this is a cover of an interview i did with him. we spent three days together in mexico. gus came with me on the trip and we sat around and talked for three days. bono is a talker and eloquent beyond belief and generous souls of good family friend. just a remarkable guy. >> rose: a couple more covers and we come back to the story. image 9 is janet jackson. that's a very nice cover. >> her record company president made an appointment with me. walked into my offices and said we have this idea for a rolling stone cover. here. he hand med that picture. said you were on that -- said will you run that cover? i said yes, indeed, we will. >> rose: just like that. look at that cover, of course, you will. >> rose: good for you, make a decision. then image 10, hip-hop.
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>> amazing cover. i mean, first of all, what a beautiful man in person and poet, but very iconic, i think. >> rose: two more and just to show you what this magazine has been in 50 years. >> we inducted him into the rock and roll hall of fame. snoop dogg did the introduction. it was the most eloquent introduction and understanding of what a special guy this was and how important he was. >> rose: image 12. you fell in love with him, didn't you? >> who couldn't. not sense jack kennedy have we had a president as stylish, as young at heart, as eloquent, as at-ease with himself, so hip, so inspiring in which not only your heart went out but the belief in possibility of change for the future, that there was hope which he ran on. he learned, made his mistakes on the job, learned on the job, but
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never lost his sense of ease or devotion to country and never anything but funny and witty and a pleasure to watch. >> rose: image 13, great hunter s. thompson. whenever i would go to aspen, he would find i was there and call up and say you've got to come out here. >> and you went out. at what time did you leave, charlie? >> rose: i liked him because he gave me so many great conversations at this table. >> he is so funny and witty and charming. he's a real southern gentleman. >> rose: and smart. smart. just whip smart, whip funny. he just -- you just had a great time being with him. >> rose: 50 years of rolling stone. >> saddest time of my life when he died. at his own hand, which i think he had the right to do. >> rose: i do, too. and made the right decision, but it was just a very sad time. >> rose: because of illness, probably.
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>> yeah, he had become ill and clearly wasn't going to get better and i think hunter was afraid he would end up in some kind of home, institutionalized in some way and never be able to get out. he would not be able to live that way. he wrote a suicide note, no more fun. >> rose: it has not always been a garden of roses. you had a story that led to a lawsuit. >> right. >> rose: university of virginia. with good intent, which was to do a story about -- >> well, i mean, we figured out or decided rape on campus was a big problem in this country and needed a closer look. we went out to do a closer look. we spent about nine months, investigating title nine across the country and what was being done, how you report rape and the handling of it on campus. the underlying story was fine and nobody ever questioned it. unfortunately, the case we used is sort of the opening illustration of the horrors of
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rape, turned out to be given to us by somebody who made it up. in our effort to bend over backwards to victims of rape, we were less than challenging to her, and we didn't -- >> rose: and you took responsibility and -- >> and, you, it turned out to be an untrue story, and we -- >> rose: paid the price. we paid the price. we got the bad publicity. the lawsuit was settled. >> rose: your credibility was questioned? >> i don't think our credibility was questioned. we had a tale of this one person which we got wrong. >> rose: it hurt some people. it hurt people, yeah. it was a wholly unpleasant episode. but i think, you know, i don't care it undercut our credibility. we have 50 years of excellent, first-class journalism and bullet proof on every kind of
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controversial subject that you can imagine. so this is one of those things that happens in life, and you have to just live wit and go through it and get beyond it? obviously the lowest point for you. >> probably, yeah. >> rose: what else would be second? >> i don't think we -- i don't think anything would come closer, we've ever had a problem like that. >> rose: you've had some acquisitions during 50 years? >> we started men's journal. >> rose: right. we owned for 20 or 25 years weekly, built a huge weekly celebrity magazine. we started outside magazine, sold that. basically those things. >> rose: you're a serial entrepreneur, aren't you? >> no, but i just had publishing magazines in my blood. >> rose: do they have a future? >> magazines? they do. it's changing. obviously, everybody is aware how digital is transforming, so many parts to have the economy and the media. something about giving somebody something free over the internet that's appealing to people.
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it's got its good and bad aspects and we're just navigating that like everybody else. our commitment is to the quality level and integrity of what we do, and w we maintain that in al the formats we go on. azygos said, we have 30 million people a month going to the web site. so we're building big audiences, we're making our revenues. we're just in transition. >> rose: gus, you're working for the old man now. >> yeah. >> rose: you know, you get a sense of his passion for culture and politics and this magazine. in 50 years, magazines are having a rough go. pick up a lot of magazines and they're thinner than you could ever imagine them. the digital age is upon us. but what does he represent to you other than a father and a -- >> well, i would say, first of
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all, it's the great pleasure of my life so far to work so closely with him on a personal level and also it's a great pleasure of my life to far to work with him on a professional level, just purely learning from him and watching him think and his instincts and passion, and that he's built -- i mean, i flipped through that book or watched his documentary that's coming up soon on hbo which we just saw a cut of, and it's awe-inspiring. >> you said, my dad still is as an editor and used that skill to captures the hearts and minds of a generation. wish i had that gift he has in that regard but i don't. my focus is far more on what we can do as a business. those of us who have been alive through the 50 years of rolling stone, it has been a reflection of our culture, and we all owe a debt of gratitude to jann wenner
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putting it all together in a magazine that we love in and in some cases become a friend. ngratulations. >> from somebody i admire very much, that's great to here. >> rose: thank you. thank you for joining us. see you next time. for more about this program and earlier episodes, join us online at captioning sponsored by rose communications captioned by media access group at wgbh
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>> rose: funding for "charlie rose" has been provided by: >> and by bloomberg, a provider of multimedia news and information services worldwide. >> you're watching pbs.
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this is "nightly business report" with tyler mathisen and. feeling the heat. it was the worst day of the year for stocks, as turbulence builds in washington and spreads to wall street. new peaks. why americans are taking on more debt than ever. and is that creating a new risk for the economy? amazon ambitions? can the world's largest online retailer shake up the multibillion dollar pharmacy business? those stories and more tonight on "nightly business report" for wednesday, may 17th. good evening, everybody. a thunderbolt hit the market today. stock slid, so


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